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Fantasy News: Week 13 Edition

FAVRE’S
ARM IS FINE

Minnesota
Vikings 40-year old quarterback Brett Favre is currently tied with former
Viking Jim Marshall for consecutive games played with 282. As most know, last
season was a season to forget down the stretch for the-then Jets quarterback,
and part of the reason had to do with the torn biceps Favre played through. So
how is Favre’s arm now that he’s on the brink of setting a new 283-game record?
Well, according to the

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Favre claims it’s fine,
even after a game in which he recorded 48 pass attempts.

“I would love
to sit here and tell you that I probably should be icing it and things like
that after games,” Favre said. “I probably shouldn’t have thrown four days
after I had surgery [in May], which was a mistake because it set me back a
little bit. But I have been pretty fortunate. Last year I was not very
fortunate. It bothered me the whole season. I actually did a little stretching
before the game. I do that every once in a blue moon. It’s been probably three
weeks since I have done it.”

So why did
Favre throw 48 passes? And why was he throwing deep bombs in the fourth quarter
with the game out of reach? Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell claims
they had no choice with a box full of defenders.

“They just
had everybody in there in the box, slamming everything against the formation,
slanting the front, putting the safety on the back side coming in,” Bevell
said. “They were just doing everything they could to stop the run game, which
leaves their guys on islands outside against our wide receivers.”

Ok, here’s
one more – why was Favre still playing with a 20-point lead, 300+ yards
already, and less than 10 minutes to go in the game?

My guess
would be because the Vikings are doing all they can to give No. 4 as many
opportunities to raise his overall stats for a shot at one more Most Valuable Player
trophy. However, it could be a shot that down the road could take the winning
winds and blow them the other direction, especially if history repeats itself
and Favre’s arm is left numb come playoff time.

Then again,
on Sunday night in front of millions he will be crowned the ultimate ironman,
which in the end may be just enough evidence for the purple and gold to believe
that his arm is in it to make a run at the Super Bowl.

For the
record, last season against the Cardinals in Week 4, Favre threw for 289 yards
and six touchdowns in a 56-35 stomping of the then future NFC champions. I
think it’s safe to start him this week.

SLATON
LIKELY TO SIT?

As
the winds blow those white wintery flakes in the most unlikely of places
creating a chill in the

Houston
air, Chris Brown and Ryan Moats are warming their engines. Why? Well,
according to the

Houston Chronicle, Steve Slaton is most likely to sit
out this week’s game against

Jacksonville
due to unspecified nerve issues in his neck and shoulder.

“It’s an
issue,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “It’s something that’s been bothering Steve. We’ve
been trying to work him through it, but it seems to have gotten worse in the
course of the last 24 hours. We’ll see. We didn’t want him to take reps away
from a guy like Ryan who might have to play a lot.”

Brown has
carried the ball 33 times in the past four games in a somewhat shared role with
Slaton, and has been confirmed as the starter by Kubiak no matter what happens
with Slaton. However, don’t count out Moats completely, who is averaging just
over four yards per carry and had an unexpected 126 yards and three touchdowns
against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.

Down the
road, if the Texans find themselves out of the playoff picture don’t be
surprised if they give Arian Foster a long look if they believe that Slaton’s
fumbling problems can’t be fixed and he’s not the long-term solution at running
back.

ARE THE
49ERS STABLE AT RECEIVER?

Since
the beginning of the 2004 season the

San
Francisco
49ers have been desperately seeking talent
to fill the biggest gap on their offense – wide receiver. n fact, since the
2003 season the 49ers haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver (Terrell Owens had
1,300), and the most yards any pass catcher has recorded in the now six-year
period was 37-year old Isaac Bruce’s 835 last season, followed by tight end
Eric Johnson’s 825 in 2004.

Well, now,
according to the

Associated Press, the 49ers believe they may have
finally found stability at the position, and their 1-2 combo of the present
and future. That combo – Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan, who were
targeted a combined 16 times by quarterback Alex Smith in the 49ers’ 20-3 win
over the Jaguars last Sunday, and will continue to be a vital part of the
offense moving forward.

“Obviously,
they’re pretty vital to what we’re doing,” Smith said Thursday. “They’re our
two receivers now who are in there the majority of the time. I think they’re a
big part of the reason we’re growing as an offense.”

Others like
tight end Vernon Davis believe their presence and contributions have helped
open up the middle of the field for players like himself to excel. 

“It’s been a
big help,”

Davis
said. “It’s just wonderful to have wide receivers that can make plays, because
it takes so much pressure off the tight end position that it allows me to get
open because they’re worried about Michael and Josh.”

Crabtree and Morgan combined for 10 receptions and 97 yards last week against
the Jaguars, and although that doesn’t seem like a lot, yardage-wise, it
certainly is a step in the right direction. In fact, Morgan believes that this
is just the beginning for the pair.

“Hey, we’re
only getting started, you know?” he said. “We’re both big, strong receivers who
can block for Frank (Gore), but we can also do things in the passing game. You
have to account for us. When we get the opportunities, we can make plays. We
just have to go out and do the job day in and day out now. The sky’s the limit
with our talent.”

Overall, the
49ers offense is finally coming together and Morgan and Crabtree have been a
huge part of that. However, this offense will only roll if Gore is steamrolling
defensive linemen and linebackers, and Smith is air-rolling (I know it’s not
even a word, but it fits) opposing secondaries.

FORSETT
WON’T BE ANOINTED YET

Seahawks
running back Justin Forsett has played beyond well since Julius Jones found
himself on the sidelines, but has he done enough to claim the No. 1 spot
permanently? And how do you keep him off the field? According to the

Tacoma
News Tribune
, coach Jim Mora knows Forsett has earned more playing time,
but by the same token doesn’t want to totally keep Jones off the field either.

“I understand
that you can’t deny Justin has had a couple of really good games with Julius
out,” Mora said. “ … we certainly need to evaluate that position [running back] and find out exactly what he is, but I don’t think that means you just
completely eliminate Julius either. We still need to evaluate him as well. We’re
going to try and continue to run the ball with whoever is running the ball well
that day.”

But there’s a
new revelation. According to the

Seattle Times, Forsett will be listed
as questionable this week with a strained quadriceps, but thinks it’s just a
tweak and he’s sat out to prevent further injury.

“It’s just a
little tweak. I don’t see it keeping me out. When I felt it, I was like, man I
should probably tell somebody about this because I didn’t want to further
injure myself,” Forsett said, adding that if it had happened in a game, he’d
have tried to play through the pain.

On the
flipside, Jones practiced at full strength on Friday and should be ready to play
on Sunday. Forsett remains questionable. 

UMENYIORA
DEMOTED?

In an effort to fix some of their defensive woes and get back on the winning
track, the New York Giants have decided to demote Osi Umenyiora and give
Mathias Kiwanuka a shot with the first team. This was according to the

Associated
Press
. However, coach Tom Coughlin made it clear that this is a move
for the better of the team, and that it doesn’t mean Umenyiora won’t play at
all.

“We will play
everybody,” Coughlin said. “We will get everybody involved. We are trying to do
the best we can in maneuvering our personnel according to our team. We preach
team defense, so we are going to try to get other guys involved as much as we
can and see if we can’t solve some issues.”

The Giants
playmaking defensive end has recorded just five sacks this season, but is
at least the Giants second-best pass rusher up front, so he’ll most
definitely still get plenty of playing time on passing downs, but may rotate in
and out on forecasted rushing situations. Having said all this, Umenyiora may
just be a good start this week in IDP leagues, even against the Cowboys massive
offensive line. The Giants are desperate for a win, and the defensive end is
desperate to prove he is still an elite pass rusher.

ON THE
INJURY FRONT …

There
is plenty of injury news heading in to Week 13’s Sunday and Monday games. 

In

Indianapolis, Colts
rookie running back Donald Brown has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the
Titans with a chest injury. This means that Chad Simpson will be the No. 2
option behind Joseph Addai. The Colts have also added Mike Hart to the roster
and worked out free agent Dominic Rhodes on Tuesday.

In

Philadelphia, not only has Eagles running back Brian
Westbrook been ruled out, but so has No. 1 wide receiver Desean

Jackson for this week’s
game against the Falcons. This could mean that quarterback Donovan McNabb will
rely heavily on Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and even running back
Lesean McCoy out of the backfield. 

In

Pittsburgh, Steelers quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger feels good, and should be ready to go this week against the
Raiders. “I feel great,” Roethlisberger told the

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m ready to go, practiced yesterday,
felt good, no headaches and ready to rock and roll.”

OTHER
INJURIES:

QB Jake Delhomme – Out

RB DeAngelo Williams – Questionable

RB Michael Turner – Questionable

WR Roddy White – Questionable

QB Matt Ryan – Out

QB Marc Bulger – Out

RB Steven Jackson – Questionable

LB Lance Briggs – Doubtful

S Louis Delmas – Questionable

LB Ernie Sims – Questionable

WR Calvin Johnson – Probable

RB Bernard Scott – Doubtful

RB Cedric Benson – Probable

WR Justin Gage – Questionable

WR Anthony Gonzalez – Out

K Adam Vinatieri – Out

DE Dwight Freeney – Questionable

CB Rashean Mathis – Out

RB Kolby Smith – Out

QB Charlie Batch – Out

S Troy Polamalu – Out

WR Lance Moore – Out

RB Reggie Bush – Questionable

RB Clinton Portis – Out

DT Albert Haynesworth – Questionable

S Eric Weddle – Out

LB Shane Merriman – Doubtful

LB Kamerion Wimbley – Questionable

CB Antoine Winfield – Questionable

TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Questionable

QB Kurt Warner – Questionable (most likely a game-time decision)

S Ken Hamlin – Out

RB Ahmad Bradshaw – Questionable

CB Nate Clements – Out

RB Justin Forsett – Questionable

RB Julius Jones – Probable

RB Sammy Morris – Questionable

QB Tom Brady – Probable

DID YOU
KNOW?

Last
week against the Colts, Texans runners Slaton and Brown combined to average 5.4
yards per carry (21 carries, 113 yards).

GEAR UP FOR

A
possible

Matt Forte breakout. Bears head coach Lovie Smith is feeling
the pressure from his players, including injured reserve star Brian Urlacher,
who claim the Bears have lost their identity, especially on offense. With the
28th-ranked Rams run defense in town – 148.5 yards allowed per game
– the Bears may finally get back to Bears football. Plus, last season against
the Rams, Forte ran the ball 21 times for 139 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Carolina

’s

Steve Smith’s
rebound. Last week marked the second time this season Smith recorded one reception
for five yards or less. The other was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the
Panthers’ opponent this week. You shouldn’t see that though on
Sunday with Matt Moore at quarterback. Back in 2007, in his first game as
a starter in Week 15 against the Seahawks, Smith caught eight of his passes for
72 yards.  Smith then went on to catch 14 more

Moore passes for 185 yards in the final two
games, and scored a touchdown in Week 16.

A

Kyle
Orton
fantasy disappointment. Orton has never made a start at Arrowhead in

Kansas City, and he
certainly has never visited the Pond in under 40-degree weather with rain and
snow in the December air. Plus, the Chiefs are allowing 134.5 yards per game on
the ground, so a heavy dose of Knowshon Moreno should be the best bet for the
Broncos offense this week in tough weather conditions.

A

Larry
Fitzgerald-Sidney Rice
showdown. And I’m not just talking from a hair
standpoint. I’m talking about the potential of both making big plays down the
field all Sunday night long. Who’s going to win the showdown? My guess
would be Fitzgerald, but with an ailing Kurt Warner, and a gun-slinging ironman
across the field who loves throwing to No. 18, Rice could prove to be king on
the fantasy scoreboard once more.

Thanks for
reading! Good luck. 

Eric Huber
is staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.  E-mail him

at

e.huber12@yahoo.com

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